City receives grant to fight homeless

JONESBORO, Ark. – The City of Jonesboro will receive a federal grant of more than $94,000 to combat homelessness in Northeast Arkansas, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Tuesday.

The City belongs to a HUD program called “Continuum of Care,” composed of area service providers in Craighead, Poinsett and Greene counties that partner to serve the homeless community.

Most of Craighead County’s service providers come from Mayor Harold Perrin’s Taskforce to End Homelessness.

“This grant is something I’ve been hoping for, because it allows us to place homeless individuals and families into permanent housing,” Perrin said of the grant, which totals $94,397 and is part of the Obama administration’s award of $1.95 billion to 7,600 homeless assistance programs across the country.

HUD Secretary Julian Castro said the projects selected for funding are ones that “support proven strategies to end homelessness once and for all.”

Taskforce Facilitator Emma Agnew, of the City’s grants department, said the grant is specifically for “rapid re-housing: providing permanent homes for the homeless.

“It will allow us to subsidize their rent and utilities for a certain period of time,” she said. “It can be up to two years, though I don’t see it lasting two years. It depends on where they are in their journey as to what it will provide.”

The taskforce will be instrumental in coordinating the process, Agnew said. The city has not been an active part of a Continuum of Care in the past five years, so Community Development Block Grants have been the city’s only resource for the homelessness.

A count taken early this year found roughly 150 homeless persons in the three-county region, about a third of which call Jonesboro home.

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